Habitat improvement project occurring in Piceance Basin in GMU 22 through Nov.

MEEKER | Hunters and other visitors to the Piceance Basin this fall should be aware of three habitat improvement projects incorporating heavy machinery on the Piceance Basin in Game Management Unit 22.

The three project areas are about 30 miles southwest of Meeker, west of Rio Blanco County Road 5. The Bureau of Land Management White River Field Office will be removing pinyon and juniper trees that are encroaching into sagebrush meadows to restore habitat for Greater Sage-grouse and big game. Work is on-going and should conclude by Nov. 30.

Whole trees will be reduced to small branches and wood mulch using either a rubber-tired tractor with a hydraulically powered mowing or mulching head or a tracked unit with a similar masticating head. Machine size may vary from a skid steer to large logging equipment. Chainsaws may also be used.

“Although these projects are small relative to the large amount of public land on the Piceance Basin, we know there may be some local impacts from the operations to people recreating in the area, including hunters,” said BLM White River Assistant Field Manager Kyle Arnold. “These projects will bring years of benefit to sage grouse and big game habitat by removing these trees encroaching into sage meadows. We appreciate the public’s patience as we complete these projects.”

The machinery used is designed to conduct the work with minimal impacts to the land and non-target species such as sagebrush.

Maps showing the specific areas to be treated are available https://www.blm.gov/office/white-river-field-office. For specific questions, please contact Landon Smith, 970-878-3818.

Special to the Herald Times